Coronavirus: Partial lockdown in West Bengal with immediate effect
The West Bengal government on Friday announced fresh restrictions with immediate effect to limit the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions will remain in force until further orders. The development comes just a day after the state concluded a staggering eight-phase Assembly election, which has been attributed to the state's massive spike in COVID-19 infections. Here's what will remain closed and what will remain open.
Malls, beauty parlors, cinema halls, restaurants/bars, gyms shut
All shopping complexes, malls, beauty parlors, cinema halls, restaurants/bars, sports complexes, gyms, spas, and swimming pools shall remain closed. Home deliveries and online services shall remain permitted. Bazaars/hats will remain open only during 7-10 am in the morning and 3-5 pm in the afternoon. Essential services such as medical shops, medical equipment shops, grocery shops, etc., will be exempted.
All gatherings banned in the state
All social/cultural/academic/entertainment-related gatherings and congregations shall remain prohibited. Any violation of these orders will be liable to be proceeded against as per provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. Besides, legal actions under the IPC and other laws of the land will be applicable.
Guidelines for vote-counting this Sunday
All activities related to electoral counting processes and victory rallies/processions will be guided by the guidelines already issued by the Election Commission of India. Unnecessary congregations in the neighborhoods of counting halls will also be discouraged and restricted. Such gatherings have to comply with COVID-19 norms. Crowding and loitering near the counting venue should be averted. Election votes will be counted this Sunday.
Active infections grew 24-fold as elections progressed
The eight-phase elections in West Bengal started on March 27 and concluded on April 29. During this period, active cases in the state rose from 4,608 to 1,13,624, while the total number of cases rose from 5,83,839 to 8,28,366. The state reported 17,411 new cases on Friday—a record single-day spike for the 19th consecutive day. The death toll stands at 11,344.